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Why residents oppose this subdivision in rural North Hall
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A 23-lot subdivision is proposed on this 26.3-acre site off Yellow Creek Road near Murrayville in North Hall. - photo by Jeff Gill

A proposed 23-lot subdivision off Yellow Creek Road is causing quite the stir for residents of this rural community outside Murrayville in North Hall.

Rochester & Associates’ request to build on 26.3-acre site at Barkers Bend Road went before the Hall County Planning Commission on Monday, Jan. 7. But the commission delayed action to give Rochester time to meet with opposition Tuesday.

The meeting with residents was held in the community, but there are still foes to the project, which is now slated to go before the planning board on Jan. 22.

“My major concern is water retention,” said Corey Black, who lives across from the property. “It’s all going to be draining in the ditches, which we already have a problem with.”

Some of the land along Yellow Creek Road is low-lying and still shows the effects of recent heavy rains.

“With (fields) leveled off (by the subdivision) and tons of gutter spouts dumping in a ditch, it’s going to be even worse,” Black said.

One of the major sticking points, though, is the subdivision’s layout. Instead of the traditional network of driveways feeding into interior roads, all the driveways will face Yellow Creek Road.

And the 1-acre lots throughout the development would be skinny, with each lot allowed to be as narrow in width as 75 feet.

“We’re concerned about the traffic situation,” said longtime resident Ed Rider. “Basically, there’s one road that leads in and out of (the community).”

Plus, the housing layout doesn’t fit the area, said Rider, who owns 14 acres.

“It’s a different lifestyle out here,” Rider said. “We live in the country. We have deer and turkey running everywhere.”

Greg Rutledge, who helped facilitate the Tuesday meeting between residents and Rochester, said residents favor a neighborhood with “sidewalks, larger houses (than proposed) and architectural controls … that make it fit more with the rural ambience.”

“We recognize that growth is inevitable,” he said. “We’re not against growth. We’re against this plan.”

Brian Rochester, executive vice president of the Gainesville engineering firm, said the traditional subdivision plan residents are suggesting “would be a complete change.”

“It’s definitely something we’ll look at,” he said. “But my concern is when you start building interior roads, we need more density to make it able to make economic sense. I don’t think (residents) are wanting more density.”

“Hopefully, we get a lot closer when we work through this process,” Rochester added. “I told them there’s definitely some things we can agree with and there’s probably going to be some things we won’t be able to agree with. That’s OK, too. That’s just part of how the process works.”

For one thing, Rochester told the planning board that joint driveways are possible.

Hall County’s planning staff has recommended approval of the request, with conditions, including that homes be built on site, as opposed to trailers or homes built off site and moved to the property.

The Planning Commission’s recommendation on Jan. 22 will go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners, which would hold a public hearing and take final action.

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